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Recent Air Disasters call for Airlines To live stream Aircraft Data
A string of Aviation Tragedies is igniting calls for Airlines to adopt Technology that can send a plane’s Flight data the Critical Information stored in black boxes from the air to the ground in real time.
One Canadian maker of the Technology, Calgary based Flight Aerospace Solutions, is in the midst of installing live streaming software in the entire fleet of Aircraft for First Air, which flies in Canada’s remote northern regions. But so far, larger carriers have been hesitant to jump on board.
Experts say the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disaster could have been a very different story if such technology was in place.
The lay person will say,What can we do with our cellphones We can track each other Why can’t we do the same with an aircraft said University of Toronto engineering professor Doug Perovic.
Black boxes contain cockpit voice recordings and Flight data Information such as the plane’s speed, altitude and location, various sensor readings and positions of flaps which are vital in helping crash investigators reconstruct what happened.
But as history has shown, locator beacons can’t always be relied upon to recover black boxes when Planes Crash into the water. It took two years to recover the black boxes of Air France Flight 447 after it crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009. Investigators have yet to locate the black boxes of Flight 370, which disappeared in March while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
These incidents have Spurred calls for the Aviation Industry to adopt devices that can transmit black box data up to satellites and then to the ground in real time. The devices can be programmed to automatically begin live streaming data when an anomaly occurs, such as the failure of an engine or loss of pressure in the cabin.
In Flight data streaming can also be activated manually by Pilots or by Airline Staff on the ground.
Personnel on the ground can quickly evaluate the streamed data and provide support to the Plane’s Crew or initiate search and rescue operations if a crash is inevitable.
Live streaming technology looks increasingly necessary, said an Editorial in the trade Publication Aviation Week in April, noting that the equipment for alerting and streaming exists today.
But at a time when the Airline Industry is reporting a 2.4 per cent net profit margin which equates to less than $6 per seat carriers have been slow to adopt the technology.
Mohini Porwal [ B Sc] Trainee News Editor
Trainee News Editor
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